Police officers and paramedics run across disturbing scenes every day as part of their professional lives, but the first responders to a Middletown, Ohio, hotel room were so disturbed by the severe beating to a 5-year-old boy that many broke down in tears, according to WBNS-10TV. Five-year-old Alexander Stephens and his brother, Damyan, 6, suffered severe injuries when they were allegedly wrapped in sheets then beaten for taking food. Alexander died Friday due to his injuries, and his mother and two other women have been charged in his death: Theresa Hawkins-Stephens, 26, her friend Rachael Bostian, 29, and Bostian’s mother, Ramona Bostian, 56.
While both boys were still alive when police and paramedics arrived on the scene Wednesday, Alexander was removed from life support after doctors pronounced him brain-dead, according to a heartbreaking post by his father, Nicholas Stephens, on Facebook.
“To all my friends and family this comes as a very hard heavy heart speech I’m in the process of going back to the hospital to see my baby boy he’s been brain-dead since Wednesday they have him on breathing machines and heart machines the medication to keep the cycle going my poor little babies bruised and battered body can’t fight anymore it’s time that I have to pull the plug please everybody pray for me that God give me the strength to do what I have to do it.”
Middletown police were called to the Parkway Inn Wednesday night at approximately 8:30 p.m. because of a report that a 5-year-old boy was unresponsive, according to Journal-News. When paramedics arrived, they started CPR on Alexander, then discovered Damyan in another bed covered by blankets. Both children were rushed to different campuses of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
During her call to 911, Rachael Bostian claimed that Alexander had escaped their tent in the woods and gone missing for several days, where he was “messed up real bad” by three boys. She also claimed that when he returned, they didn’t realize how severe his injuries were, which was why they didn’t call for medical attention at that time.
Major Mark Hoffman, a 38-year police veteran, said it was one of the most horrific cases of abuse he had ever seen. According to Hoffman, fellow police officers, firefighters and even the doctors at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center were reduced to tears upon seeing the severe injuries to Alexander, as a result of beatings that allegedly lasted all day Tuesday into Wednesday. First responders were so distressed that both the police and fire department chaplain’s were called out to counsel them.
After Alexander died Friday, the Middletown police posted a statement on their Facebook page.
“Tough day today for the Middletown police officers and fire medics who responded to the call at the motel Wednesday night, as one of the boys passed away this morning. Many prayers lifted up for these children today. Time for our community to come together as one to make sure these things don’t happen again. Rest in peace little guy.”
Hawkins-Stephens and Rachael Bostian are both charged with murder, two counts of child endangering, and two counts of felonious assault, with bail set for $1 million each. Ramona Bostian is being held on $500,000 bail and was charged with two counts of child endangering and two counts of felonious assault. All three are scheduled for their next court appearance on May 6.
Journal-News reported that the three women had come to Middletown looking for work, and had stayed in the woods until receiving a voucher from a social services agency to get the room at Parkway Inn. Police reported that no drugs were found at either scene.
The boys’ aunt, Kristen Nott, remembered the boy in an interview with WLWT News 5.
“His favorite song was the ‘wiggle wiggle’ song. Every time it came on he would sing along and shake his little behind to it He loved airplanes, too. Every time one flew over he would be like, ‘Look, an airplane!’ in his cute little voice.”
Damyan is recovering and his father posted a photo of the bruised boy smiling despite his ordeal. The family started a GoFundMe campaign to help with expenses, but according to the comments on the site, the Middletown Police Department will be covering funeral expenses.
[Photo courtesy of Facebook]